OptumRx: The 3 drugs that will have the biggest impact on payers, patients in 2020

OptumRx, the pharmacy benefit unit of UnitedHealth Group, released a list of the three drugs it expects to have the biggest impact on payers and patients in 2020. 

Optum said it expects the emphasis on orphan drugs to continue this year and to make up nearly 40 percent of newly approved drugs across all disease categories.

The three drugs it expects to have the biggest impact in 2020 were either recently approved or are expected to be approved in 2020: 

  1. Risdiplam — If approved, risdiplam would be the first oral therapy to treat spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, one of the most common rare diseases that affects about 1 in 11,000 babies. Optum expects risdiplam — which is being developed by Roche, PTC Therapeutics and the SMA Foundation — to have a big impact on payers and patients because of the significant unmet need for SMA treatments. While clinical trials are still ongoing, Optum said early results are promising. The FDA is expected to make a decision on risdiplam on or before August 24.

  2. Viltolarsen — Under development by NS Pharma, a Paramus, N.J.-based drugmaker, viltolarsen is designed to treat specific forms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or DMD, a rare genetic disorder that affects young boys. Because there is a significant unmet need for DMD treatments, Optum expects it to have a significant impact on patients and payers if approved by the FDA. The FDA is expected to make a decision in the third quarter of 2020.

  3. Trodelvy — A treatment for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, or TNBC, Trodelvy was approved on April 22. The drug is meant for patients who have received at least two prior therapies for metastatic disease. TNBC is an aggressive breast cancer that makes up about 20 percent of breast cancer cases. There is a high unmet need for treatment in this subtype of breast cancer, according to Optum, and industry analysts predict Trodelvy could reach $1.44 billion in global sales in 2024. Trodelvy is made by Immunomedics, a Morris Plains, N.J.-based drugmaker. 

Read Optum's full report here

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